Caroline “Blaze” Jensen dreamt of being a jet fighter at a time when women weren’t allowed to fly. Luckily, thanks to mentors and others who paved the way, she was able to live out her dream as an Air Force Thunderbird pilot. “Blaze” talks about her accomplishment of being the first mom to become a Thunderbird pilot, what her experience as a Legislative Aide for the Senate taught her, and what lessons and character traits apply to leadership and business. She also discusses the importance of taking constructive criticism, time for reflection and solitude, and accomplishing goals as building blocks.
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[2:33] Caroline has an extremely impressive bio, but one of her greatest accomplishments and primary jobs is being a single mom to her 10-year-old son.
[2:33] Caroline dreamt of being in the Air Force from a young age, but women weren’t allowed to fly. Her dad was consistent with his support for her dream and even introduced to her Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) who became her cherished mentors. Caroline credits much of her success to the giants that blazed the trail before her.
[3:36] Being a great leader doesn’t mean working around the clock or sending out emails 24/7. We are more productive when we are rested, and reprioritization is an ongoing skill to make sure we are taking care of our families.
[12:40] Our society is becoming less focused on gender and more focused on what it is we put out in the world, and what skills we have. Caroline looks forward to a time where gender matters even less at work.
[15:28] As a Legislative Aids for the US Senate, Caroline had a great experience with hard-working people. She was blown away at how busy the members of Congress are.
[22:00] Caroline was a high profile recruiter for the Air Force, and she took much pride in being a champion for the service branch.
[28:14] Thunderbird pilots can fly as close as 18 inches apart at top speed. It takes complete focus and attention to detail. Caroline names the following attributes as both important in the Thunderbirds and in business:
- You must build trust in your team, and look out for the greater good of everyone.
- Not everything is learned or mastered at once. Use building blocks to meet your goals.
- You have to learn how to take constructive criticism and grow from it.
- Be open to feedback from team members and to the debriefing sessions.
- Learn how to succeed, but also look for the learning lesson when you don’t.
[37:05] While the video game revolution may produce some good fighter pilots with quick thinking and solid reflexes, leaders still need time for reflection and solitude.
[39:36] Caroline’s Challenge: Serve your country and community. Do something to make the lives of your fellow man better.
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How to Contact “Blaze”
- “We need to make sure we are taking care of the people at home who are taking care of us.”
- “Your skills and the way you conduct yourself, that what speaks for you, not what your chromosomes are.”
- “I feel really fortunate that I get to recruit the future and represent the past.”
- “Sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.”
- “One of the easiest ways to get your point across is to lead by example.”
- “Sometimes people learn more from failure than from winning.”